verb (used with object), plot·ted, plot·ting.

verb (used without object), plot·ted, plot·ting.

Origin of plot

before 1100; (noun) of multiple orig.: in sense “piece of ground,” Middle English: small area, patch, stain, piece of ground, Old English: piece of ground (origin obscure); in senses “ground plan, outline, map, scheme,” variant (since the 16th century) of plat1, itself partly a variant of Middle English, Old English plot; sense “secret plan” (from 16th century) by association with complot, in pejorative sense; (v.) derivative of the noun
Related formsplot·ful, adjectiveplot·less, adjectiveplot·less·ness, nounout·plot, verb (used with object), out·plot·ted, out·plot·ting.o·ver·plot, verb, o·ver·plot·ted, o·ver·plot·ting.pre·plot, verb (used with object), pre·plot·ted, pre·plot··plot, verb (used with object), re·plot·ted, re·plot·ting.un·plot·ted, adjectiveun·plot·ting, adjectivewell-plot·ted, adjective

Synonyms for plot

Synonym study

1. See conspiracy. 19. Plot, conspire, scheme imply secret, cunning, and often unscrupulous planning to gain one's own ends. To plot is to contrive a secret plan of a selfish and often treasonable kind: to plot against someone's life. To conspire is to unite with others in an illicit or illegal machination: to conspire to seize a government. To scheme is to plan ingeniously, subtly, and often craftily for one's own advantage: to scheme how to gain power. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for plot

Contemporary Examples of plot

Historical Examples of plot

  • This morning she was arrested by the thought that the plot she had planted was hers.

  • You've got to have a plot, Mac, and if you've got to have a plot, you've got to have sin.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • The death of the constable had made him miserable at heart, but the failure of the plot also.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • As for my party, we now began to plot, again, in order to get quit of the ship.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • I knew the plot of the play, but not how it would be presented, nor how it would work out.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

British Dictionary definitions for plot




a secret plan to achieve some purpose, esp one that is illegal or underhanda plot to overthrow the government
the story or plan of a play, novel, etc
military a graphic representation of an individual or tactical setting that pinpoints an artillery target
mainly US a diagram or plan, esp a surveyor's map
lose the plot informal to lose one's ability or judgment in a given situation

verb plots, plotting or plotted

to plan secretly (something illegal, revolutionary, etc); conspire
(tr) to mark (a course, as of a ship or aircraft) on a map
(tr) to make a plan or map of
  1. to locate and mark (one or more points) on a graph by means of coordinates
  2. to draw (a curve) through these points
(tr) to construct the plot of (a literary work)

Word Origin for plot

C16: from plot ², influenced in use by complot




a small piece of landa vegetable plot

verb plots, plotting or plotted

(tr) to arrange or divide (land) into plots

Word Origin for plot

Old English: piece of land, plan of an area
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for plot

Old English plot "small piece of ground," of unknown origin. Sense of "ground plan," and thus "map, chart" is 1550s; that of "a secret, plan, scheme" is 1580s, probably by accidental similarity to complot, from Old French complot "combined plan," of unknown origin, perhaps a back-formation from compeloter "to roll into a ball," from pelote "ball." Meaning "set of events in a story" is from 1640s. Plot-line (n.) attested from 1957.


1580s, "to lay plans for" (usually with evil intent); 1590s in the literal sense of "to make a map or diagram," from plot (n.). Related: Plotted; plotter; plotting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

plot in Culture


The organization of events in a work of fiction.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.